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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 11, 2013 1:30am-2:00am EST

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>> there are many national standards that disagree with each other and the basic rule seems to be that if it is just a crushed or just the ten commandments that violates the establishment clause but if on the nativity scene are the ten commandments or the are combined with other things illustrating the have a far better chance of surviving the other thing that seems to happen the architecture or the beauty of the art as well as the message then it is
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probably okay. >> what if any do you foresee coming? >> that is the top question. one of the things we see happening across the country is the schism especially in the major protestant denominations it goes down the line. it's further back about the ordination of the women. the different standards applied by differing states can take its property with it or not
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california, virginia, massachusetts, connecticut, churches, a lot of the states involved. the church spending millions of dollars a year on the lawyers fees and so these are difficult questions and they are affecting very long standing denominations across america. >> the author most recently of this book the spirit of law in the constitution in modern america. >> thank you so much.
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>> the id advancements in the life extension subject to the latest book wrong for this world it's been a carrot columbia and university we are pleased to be joined by award winning professor who's won both the pulitzer and the national book critics circle award for previous books and his most recent book is long for this world the strange science of the
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immortality. professor, who is aubrey and blacks >> keys on of the most interesting i've met. he grew up and studied in new england and became a computer scientist and then developed the idea that we might live essentially forever or a thousand years, some modest stand like that. oddly enough, the more time i spend, the more time i found some of his ideas, not his predictions for his hopes for a thousand years or more but that longevity to be taken seriously to be worth listening to. >> such as? >> well, he argues that aging
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should be viewed as something that we can study and understand and perhaps fight prospectively and that we can do more evaluation now than we ever could before. those are ideas that i think the consensus is building around. although he's extremely eccentric and extremely controversial with good reason. i think most people in the field of gerontology and age and science agree now it is something that we can understand better and we can learn to control better than we do now. so that is in the old news, right? that is the news that we have been looking for for ages.
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>> that optimistic point of view as anyone on a plan that. >> how has he manipulated the ability to control aging? >> a lot of it is indirect. a lot of the success that you and i are enjoying right now as we age, we are aging more slowly than our parents and our grandparents did. we are very happy about that. we like to a little slower than we are now. a lot of that is in direct bet ebenefits the overall progress sanitation and the countries and the huge amount in the most mundane way. at the life expectancy, vaccines, antibiotics added enormous amounts to life expectancy in the 20th century. now we are doing better with the elderly poor people in their 60s, 70's and 80's have a better life expectancy than people of the same age a generation back
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or two generations back. a lot of that is in direct because overall we are better at living healthy lives and treating diseases, making life comfortable for ourselves. again that is in the country where sanitation has advanced and there are billions of people still in the world who do not have those benefits but for those of us that are lucky right now we are within ten years or 20 years of our ancestors so now the question is can you face aging head on and do something about the deterioration 50's, 60's, 70's and on up, can you do anything about that that would give us another to come 20, 30, 40 years or more. and my story's main character
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likes to argue if we can extend a little faster than we are doing now faster than the deterioration and essentially fervor. >> turn-of-the-century but when that money at or the 19th and that the 20th century what was life expectancy, about 40 years? >> in the 20th century it think it was 47, 48 years average life now we are out to about 80 years so an enormous gains in the last century. estimate how we get to a thousand? [laughter] >> well i have to say before we talk about how to get to a thousand years that there are two questions. there is can we and should we. can we -- we really want to and i think both of those questions
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are complicated. there is the philosophical side, the bio ethical questions, should we, do we want to. those are even more complicated and to me, personally, they may be the most difficult to be resolved. i find myself deeply conflicted when i talked to someone. but if you want to talk about the technical side of the question, how could we do it, there are maybe seven broad classes of problems we all run into as we get older and operated a great. i advised him very neatly. timoney sells here and you there and a problem with all of our
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molecular machinery starts to stick together in places and that makes us more rigid in sight and out and that is why our skin for instance starts to get crinkly as we get older is not as flexible as it used to be and if you can attack those then you can do something about the cosmetics and the more serious problems where we don't see the wrinkles. >> is there research? >> yeah on all of those seven different kinds of aging problems. there are enzymes for instance that can go through your body and snap across links. the problem is there's a little molecular that can't necessarily tell the bad across links from the stuff that makes our molecular machinery run so they are not specific enough to be helped. if you can teach them where to
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snap and not to, then you might have a medical tool. >> we have one more example on the technical side before we get into. >> one more example, well, if you look at where our energy comes from, our molecular factories are called mitochondria. it takes place. that is our power plants and they are scattered through every cell and they have some dna of their own. most of our dna is packed into the nucleus, the darker ball at the center of every self, but there is from dna in the mitochondria to the did they develop mutations, those strands faster than the dna that is safe and protected inside of the
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nucleus and make copies of it and put it into the nucleus where it would be safe from mutations so the work of energy production could keep going without d-tn aerating without the mutations. that is an argument that a few biologists have made before aubrey. he's pulled together some interesting research. maybe that could work. again, very controversial and a little bit far out right now. he had some other ideas that they are even further out. i have to say. there is garbage that builds up in the cells, constantly the byproducts of what troubles some
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eub lamented that garbage from indigestible that our own bodies, housekeeping enzymes cannot clean up. it done because. where are all living things that have figured out how to eat, every part of our body including the indigestible. it's in graveyards. the bugs, the germans. cold and, i think is what it's called. this century's old. the idea is to cultivate some of these bacteria, figure out their secrets, how they can devour are indigestible and gather and use those to karina's.
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>> those are just peripheral. and in fact that's really what we got. when i'm talking to a man like aubrey, we are talking about a futuristic. here in the present our best days are exercised, buy it, getting enough sleep, exercisers and don peters are absolutely the key and in fact calorie restriction manipulating the dying and in some way is the one clearly proven method of adding some time to the life span of all kind of living things. it's not true if that i had to work with s. there will worker worms and mice. they're all sorts of.
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the questionnaires. most of us are voting at their restaurant. we are not choosing to cut our calories way down so we have a little bit longer. exercise, diet. people have made for centuries that is still the best bet. is connect what are some of the ethical considerations of extending life to two injured, 300 or more years? >> one of the biggest ethical concerns most of us think of
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rarely is population. the population explosion on the planet is already the interest. if you start adding decades or centuries to the human life span, what are you doing to the population explosion? you will add enormous environmental problems that may stomp us. what good is it to be healthier longer if the planet is deteriorated around you said that is one of the most frightening complications of the research program. he argues against that we have a population explosion because of all of our success in madison. the vaccines, the antibiotics, those saved so many lives mostly children and babies and that's
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why our population is expanding so dramatically. would you want to go back and told the inventors of the antibiotic stopped you are going to give a population explosion? why should be argued against the anti-ageing pioneers, why not continue on the same path? i think it's something to argue. aubrey is the most difficult to guide to argue with that i've run into. he's taken us out into the land position that. if you have a beer he will have six to your one.
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he's a very. she will say that every one of these common sense logical arguments that come to your mind against the program of living a thousand years is deeply flawed and he can only. one of the counter arguments are worth taking seriously. i will give you another one. most of us feel that there is something about mortality that gives a seriousness to our lives and that if we could be granted another 100, 200,000 years, our lives would be rendered somehow less precious, less meaningful.
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why would we need to try to accomplish anything tomorrow or next year when it's still the half a century or millennium to get around to it most of us feel as though it structures our entire identities officer for better or worse. so what happens if you take away the molding? that structure. you are just sort of a puddle of chile. if you are having nightmares that it would cease to be used if you are granted that would go quick. 877-sig-2009's come back to that is if you don't like it, we can come if you don't mind it, you don't have to get. they are not granted the forced to live forever but he expects
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and this is tough to argue to combat, he argues that if that for the option and i just stood tomorrow morning and the doctor suggestion factor looks like it works and you can live a thousand years. how many of us really what hesitated for a long psp might i have deep ambivalence about the idea living for centuries. yet i have to confess every time i read a story. i suspect a breakthrough was made and we do have some way of doubling of the life expectancy of .
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we found some clue. maybe it reminds me of one of the arguments, his seven deadly things that we can all cure. they have made a background and i found myself filled with the most irrational hope. maybe he's right. maybe this program can work and it's just -- it's very deep in us the yes and then no and the subject. they prevent words. he is ten years older than i am so i find this age very easy to remember, she's 48 now. she is aging about the same rate as the rest of us and so in my. for all of the talk and all of
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the energy, aging isn't slowing down very much on this planet right now. it's not that he wants to live forever. is that. that human being can make for the wealthier of humanity that something like 100,000 people deny a day on a plan and because of this tragedy called aging. the doctors that cure the cancer or alzheimer's or diabetes or any of the others. if you could get at the root of the problem. why do all of these diseases emerge as we get older. what it's changed.
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if you can get at that, then he would have contributed more to the civilization and to the quality of human life than anyone everywhere in the history of the world. >> that's what we are trying to do. >> who is funding his research cruxes their government going into this research? >> there is money going to the research from the government's -- the united states has the national institute of aging that funds research on alzheimer's and more speculative research programs like the ones we are talking about now then there's also rich and middle of the road who give to her private foundation. he started something awhile back
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and now he runs the foundation with a slightly different name. he's not getting rich from the foundations than they are not sponsoring a huge amount of research, but this work is going on. unfortunately the national institute of aging is a poor stepsister in the national institute. there is much more for instance park for the research on cancer than of there is in both. islamic that is another thing that emerged as i study the question that i've begun to find problematic. the single biggest risk factor for kansas is age. the older we get the more physically prepared we are. what is changing in our bodies that is predisposing us to a
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disease like cancer or alzheimer's which are very well funded as problems. we spend more money studying them the byproducts of aging. i think that we are making a mistake. many who gerontologists save a thing we are not. another shock to me in doing the research. we are not better than the discarding aging as we are sick consciousness. we swam and consciousness. it's life to us and we swam in time and the way that makes us age but we don't know that is able to produce consciousness and we don't know what it is in our body that is making us aged
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and if we could understand exactly what it is that we mean by aging than we would take a giant step towards these visionary programs of slowing of the clock or stopping the clock were weak revoking the man of the young to the complexities, the ethical complexities of a fight against aging. i think a fight to understand aging is more important than anything else we are doing in medicine now. >> there is the reason we've talked about these questions ever since the book of genesis and snake in the garden.
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all of the world's first religions were -- the first stories were turned on the question of aging and death and can we stop it and i think those questions are as deep for us as they ever were. we are more technically sophisticated so it's very likely that these questions are going to become less and less satisfaction and present concern over the next years. >> professor of medical and scientific journalism here at columbia university. he won a pulitzer prize for the book. was the book about? >> that's out evolution. i have a place i have to say thank you because it's one of the most extraordinary stories i ever ran across. two pilot adjusts.
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every year -- they've been doing this since 1973 the cantelon and little desert that he himself never saw. they watched darwin and a documented in evolution by natural selection proceeding year by year. they've watched it. they've seen it. they understand today they are doing what he never imagined possible. he thought it would take the geological ages to see the evolution in but now i'm seeing more and it turns out we mortals can watch and we are watching in darwin. i've gone back to life now to visit. there are many people, peter and
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grant look over their shoulders. it's wonderful that they're still doing this research. all these years later than ever retired. but officially, she's run, unofficial leader still of read your. along for this world of the strange science of immortality. professor, [inaudible] they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in the white house. meet lucey and c-span's new series first lady's influence and imaging first of its kind


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